‘Blacklisted’ is racist and ‘sanity check’ is disparaging to people with mental health issues, according to new internal diversity letter issued to US spies

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • An article on ‘gender identity’ featured advice from an anonymous cross-dressing secret agent
  • The guidance received a hostile reception from Republicans who took to social media to slam the Biden administration 

US spies, including members of the CIA, have been told the term ‘blacklisted’ is racist and ‘sanity check’ is disparaging to people who suffer from mental health issues in a new internal diversity letter.

The latest guidance, which also included advice from a crossdressing secret agent, was revealed in The Dive – a newsletter issued by the intelligence community’s diversity, equality, inclusion, and accessibility office.

According to Fox News, which has reviewed the document, it is full of diversity guidance aimed at ‘focusing on ways spy agencies can be more inclusive’.

The document’s theme revolves around ‘the importance of words’ and is packed with phrases that officials have now been urged to refrain from using.

One of the six articles within the newsletter – about ‘linguistic diversity’ – has highlighted the alleged racist connotations around the term ‘blacklisted’.

The latest guidance, which also included advice from a crossdressing secret agent, was revealed in The Dive

This is because it implies ‘black is bad and white is good’.

The term ‘sanity check’ has also been discouraged because it suggests that those who suffer from mental illnesses are inferior.

The terms ‘cakewalk’ and ‘grandfathered’ also made an appearance in the article because of their association with slavery.

In another section of the newsletter, an intelligence office warned that previous training had conflated Islamic beliefs with terrorism and cautioned the language that targeted spies’ Muslim-American colleagues.

The author further detailed an effort to revise intelligence presentations to weed out problematic language.

The Dive’s editor-in-chief, who has been kept anonymous on the online version of the document, also took to writing a section of the 16-page handout.

Terms deemed no longer ‘acceptable’ 

  • ‘Blacklisted’ – The guidance states that officials should refrain from using the term as it implies ‘black is bad and white is good’.
  • ‘Cakewalk’ and ‘Grandfathered’ – The two terms are discouraged due to their ties to slavery.
  • ‘Sanity check’ – The phrase was included in the guidance because it suggests people with mental illness are inferior. 

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They described how the new Asian and Pacific Islander employee resource groups have been successful in ‘creating a new framework and language guidelines for how we talk about the People’s Republic of China.’

In another article on ‘gender identity’, an intelligence officer who remained anonymous revealed his secret crossdressing habit has sharpened his skills within his job. 

‘I am an intelligence officer, and I am a man who likes to wear women’s clothes sometimes,’ the author wrote. 

‘I think my experiences as someone who cross-dresses have sharpened the skills I use as an intelligence officer, particularly critical thinking and perspective-taking.

‘It is challenging for some people to understand crossdressing, and non-binary or genderfluid people because gender is a part of overall identity,’ he added. 

‘Many of us think of our identities as fixed, and some find this approach to gender threatening to their own identity.’

The officer said cross-dressing has helped him understand foreign actors, clandestine assets and how to better support his female and LGBTQIA+ colleagues.

The newsletter includes six articles – one about changing terminology related to counterterrorism, one about ‘linguistics diversity,’ another about reimagining how ‘we talk about Africa,’ a fourth highlighting an intelligence officer’s gender expression, one about accessibility in the combat zone and a final article about the 6th Annual African American & Hispanic Leadership Summit. 

The guidance received a hostile reception from Republicans who took to social media to slam the Biden administration, with one dubbing it a ‘clown show’ and another questioning how this will help intelligence gathering.

In response to The Dive’s release, Arkansas Republican senator and member of the Armed Services Committee, Tom Cotton, stated his concerns about the document and quizzed both the Biden administration and the intelligence community’s priorities.  

‘The Biden administration putting DEI above national security is deeply concerning,’ Cotton told Fox News.

Arkansas Republican senator, Tom Cotton, called the guidance 'deeply concerning' and questioned the intelligence community's priorities

Arkansas Republican senator, Tom Cotton, called the guidance ‘deeply concerning’ and questioned the intelligence community’s priorities

‘Intelligence officers should spend their time finding terrorists, not worrying about whether they will offend them.’ 

Jeremy Hunt, a former Army intel officer and the chairman of the national security-focused group Veterans On Duty, was also left angered.

‘Rather than our primary focus being on protecting the homeland, these absurd attempts to police the language of intelligence assessments to make them politically correct will undoubtedly result in lower quality, imprecise and confusing intelligence reports that leave lawmakers and decision makers less informed and unable to make reasoned judgments,’ he said.

However, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stood its ground and defended the guidance, which they claim is ultimately aimed at ‘building a diverse and inclusive workforce’.

‘The Intelligence Community Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility Office manages the IC’s efforts to build a diverse and inclusive workforce, and as part of their work, they distribute The Dive, a quarterly magazine, to each IC element’s DEIA office and/or Equal Employment Opportunity office,’ an ODNI spokesperson said. 

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